Global leaders called for urgent additional funding of at least US$ 5.2 billion for the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC) to establish a Pandemic Vaccine Pool of a minimum of 600 million additional doses to address uncertainties and risks in the virus’ evolution, provide bundled finance to strengthen delivery systems in recipient countries, and cover essential ancillary costs.
In calling for the additional funds, the leaders stressed that vaccines have demonstrated incredible effectiveness at preventing serious diseases. They also said that the best way to protect and build on the progress made so far is to help as many people as possible around the world receive their primary vaccination while ensuring an ability to act quickly in response to any future developments of the pandemic. This would be critical not only to protect the health and economies of lower-income countries but also to protect the entire world against continuing waves of virus variants.
The leaders of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), and UNICEF, all partners in COVAX, the global mechanism for delivering safe and equitable COVID-19 vaccines – the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator) – was speaking at the launch of Break COVID Now, the Investment Opportunity for the Gavi COVAX AMC. The event also featured government ministers from a number of donor and implementing countries, as well as the President of the European Investment Bank.
Launched in 2020, COVAX delivered its first vaccines in January 2021, 39 days after the first vaccination outside of a clinical trial. COVAX has now shipped over one billion doses to 144 countries, 90% of which (nearly 900 million in total) have gone to lower-income countries eligible for donor-supported vaccines via the Gavi COVAX AMC. Together with COVAX partners and the work of other regional initiatives like AVATT, Africa CDC, and the AU; PAHO in the Americas; APVAX in the Asia Pacific region; COVAX has worked to ensure supplies and delivery are coordinated as part of a major global multilateral effort to ensure equitable access to life-saving tools.
With COVAX having sufficient confirmed supplies to be able to protect approximately 45% of the population of AMC economies thanks to existing cash contributions and dose donations from donors, additional funding is sought to provide the machine with the flexibility to respond to the needs of individual AMC countries as they work toward meeting their own national vaccination strategies and adapting these strategies to Omicron and other future variants.
Specifically, COVAX leaders called for at least US$ 5.2bn in new funding: US$ 3.7 billion to fund a 600 million dose Pandemic Vaccine Pool to address uncertainties and related uncovered risks, such as boosters, additional coverage, new variant vaccines if required, and to make sure there is reliable supply for the poorest countries. In addition, catalytic delivery funding of US$ 1 billion is requested to support getting doses into arms rapidly and safely without undermining routine immunization activities. A further US$ 545 million is needed to cover ancillary costs such as syringes, transport, and insurance for donations.
“The pandemic is far from over: while we make progress, we must ensure that we can continue to respond to the needs of the countries we support,” Prof José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, stressed. “We thank those that have already made commitments, and we encourage others to join us.”
Donors have already begun to answer COVAX’s call.
Early initial pledges of US$ 192 million to the 2022 target include:
- Austria has pledged EUR 2.5 million
- Belgium has pledged EUR 8 million
- Denmark has pledged DKK 15’000’000
- Finland has pledged EUR 5.27 million
- Ireland has pledged EUR 9.5 million
- Liechtenstein has pledged CHF 400,000
- Luxembourg has pledged EUR 2 million
- The Netherlands has pledged EUR 23 million
- New Zealand has pledged NZ$ 9 million
- Norway has pledged NOK 500 million in funding for COVAX 2022 activities
- Portugal has pledged EUR 150,000
Spain has pledged EUR 3.5m to COVAX; the Spanish Government has also made an additional contribution of EUR 10 million to support Gavi’s core vaccination activities in view of the upcoming Gavi-funded rollout of the world’s first malaria vaccine
Additionally, the European Investment Bank is making up to EUR 300 million in financing available to support African countries access additional doses through COVAX.
Additionally, the private sector and philanthropists have also stepped up and a contribution of $66 million was recently made to support the Gavi COVAX AMC – showing continued commitment from private donors and investors of the need to accelerate equitable access to vaccines.
“COVAX has delivered more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines in just under a year – an unprecedented achievement in global public health given all the well-known challenges that were faced in 2021,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. ” I want to thank our donors for making this possible. In 2022, we can help break COVID by adapting our support to ensure doses are used rapidly, get into arms safely, are responsive to country preferences and coverage targets. This will help the world to reduce pandemic risks and uncertainties.”
In 2022, modeling results estimate that the Gavi COVAX AMC will save 1-1.27 million lives in eligible countries that would otherwise be lost to the pandemic. The economic cost of the pandemic could be reduced by as much as half in some countries if vaccines are rolled out rapidly.
Building on existing partnerships, stakeholders, and the multilateral system, using the strengths of each and ensuring a coherent global approach across supply and demand, and reporting to countries and donors, at overheads no more than 3% of the financial commitments made – while using innovative financing instruments such as IFFIm, as well as the front-loading facility of the EIB – Gavi is able to leverage every single dollar it receives, meaning COVAX can play a key role in supporting countries’ vaccination strategies against COVID-19 throughout the year.
This investment opportunity is part of the broader effort to support the continued work of the ACT-Accelerator, which aims to provide countries with access to all the life-saving tools needed to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic – vaccines, tests, treatments, and PPE.